Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Update: I Despise T-Mobile

Since I have been without wireless for one week now, I thought I’d take this opportunity to provide you with an update so you don’t think I’ve either died, lost interest in writing or been kidnapped by space aliens. None of these things is true.

If you’ve been following my saga on twitter these past few days, then you know that I’ve been going crazy because my wireless connection unexpectedly died one week ago. The internet providers, T-Mobile, are a study of stupidity and incompetence, unable to understand what the problem is (like, duh!), unable to route our many phone calls to someone in customer service who can figure out what the problem is, leaving my spouse hanging on terminal “hold” — or worse, cutting off the phone altogether after he’s already been on ‘hold’ for ten minutes. The employees obviously don’t give a rat’s ass about this crisis that they’ve caused (nevermind that T-Mobile is like pigs at a trough when it comes to collecting monthly fees for this service they are too incompetent and stupid to provide). I am a relatively sophisticated internet user, so I cannot imagine the intense frustration that other people must feel who don’t know anything about internet access. I am outraged that these arrogant morons have jobs that pay them a living wage while I remain “unemployable.”

At this point, I want to (1) file a formal complaint with whomever one files complaints with in Germany, (2) stop paying for wireless through T-Mobile (isn’t it illegal in Europe to charge for a service that cannot be used by those who purchased it? Or are people only allowed to get what they pay for in the USA?) (3) move our iPhone and wireless service to another provider and (4) sue the bastards for theft and for breach of contract! (yes, my inner NYCer is showing her true spirit on point #4, but since T-Mobile is completely oblivious to customer complaints, they are begging to be taken down a few notches by someone who is willing to fight them in court). Unfortunately, my spouse is not too keen to move our iPhone service elsewhere because he doesn’t know if any other mobile phone service providers actually serve iPhones.

So I am once again tagging along with the spouse to his workplace, where I am using wireless there. Currently, I have literally thousands of non-spam emails to sort through, so I am a little bit slow in communicating with everyone. Please accept my apologies for this. This backlog will continue for an unpredictable length of time since I once again don’t have wireless access at home, and have no way of estimating when that happy day will arrive (although, if the previous fiasco that occurred in December 2009 is any indication, it will be 16 days before my home wireless access is restored).

In view of T-Mobile’s claim that they are the largest telecom provider in the EU, this truly pathetic display of technological inferiority is absolutely inexcusable and indefensible. I hope T-Mobile stock crashes and the CEO, René Obermann, ends up being locked up for life in a tiny airless prison cell without a television — but with a serial broomstick rapist as his cellmate.

Oh, and what have we here? A quick look around YouTube reveals that I am not the only one who is inspired into apoplexy by T-Mobile, and it also reveals that T-Mobile service sucks around the world (although, sadly, I didn’t find any complaints in German).

Are there any Germans who despise T-Mobile as much as I do? If so, feel free to share your hatred in the comment thread below. Better yet, let’s make a class action lawsuit again T-Mobile in Germany! I would be happy to participate!

Comments

  1. #1 Adrian
    February 22, 2010

    Hello Grrl, Sorry to hear about your problems, I was without broadband for about 6months. I used the OFCOM omsbubdsman service to get it sorted. I think Germany has a similar service called Bundesnetzagentur for telecoms. Also there is a consumer protection service called Verbraucherzentrale who have a website. I know how frustrating it is to be in this situation, particularly when the call centre is somewhere outside the country like mine was. Good luck (you may need it)!

  2. #2 SimonG
    February 22, 2010

    I suppose it’s one of the difficulties of living in a new place: not knowing where to go for help/vengence. I’m sure the consumer protection laws in Germany are quite strong; I know they’re completely anal about regulations and standards for everything, and all too keen to try to get the rest of the EU to adhere to German standards rather than anything a bit less restrictive.
    Hopefully you’ll find the right bureaucrat soon.

  3. #3 Tony P
    February 22, 2010

    T-Mobile here in the U.S. seems to be a little bit better. However I’ve had a credit balance with them for over a year now despite telling them to just send me a check. I discontinued service because quite frankly I didn’t need it.

    That’s how I ended up with a credit balance.

  4. #4 joshua
    February 22, 2010

    T-Mobile USA ripped me off once for like $50. They never paid me a credit which I was due.

    These kinds of problems are just endemic to very large companies. Often it’s better to pay more to a small company as you get much better customer support.

    Grrlscientist, there may be small internet providers in your area which you haven’t even heard of. Like WISPs. (Wireless providers.) Sometimes these services cost twice as much, but are well worth the extra cost.

  5. #5 case
    February 22, 2010

    Unfortunately, this is not unusual for Telekom/T-Mobile and, more generally, for customer service from these big companies.

    A couple of things to remember:
    The customer support hotlines are basically worthless. Getting someone on the line who has a clue about anything at all is about as likely as winning the lottery.

    Furthermore, dealing with such troubles over the phone is not a good idea. Besides the problem of being on hold for ages, you usually don’t have a record of what was said, and phone conversations tend to lead to ‘misunderstandings’ (meaning they suddenly claim you ordered something that you never did, etc.). If you do call them, you should keep notes about when you called, with whom you talked and what they told you.

    In these situations you often have no choice but to play hardball (and don’t let them jerk you around for months before you start doing so). This means, concretely, that you write them via certified mail (Einwurf-Einschreiben or, even better, Einschreiben mit Rückschein), and you give them a specific date until which they have to fix the problems. 1-2 weeks is usually an acceptable timeframe. Additionally, you mention that, should they miss this deadline, you will reduce your payments, stop paying altogether, terminate the contract without notice, or whatever is appropriate in your situation. Threatening to hand the matter over to a lawyer can also work wonders in some cases ;)
    It’ would also be useful to keep track (receipts) of all expenses incurred, i.e. postage, phone calls and such.

    One word of caution though: If you stop paying, rescind your agreement to future bank drafts or cancel past payments, they sometimes go all out and block *all* services you have with them, not only the one(s) in dispute.

    Finally, and for what it’s worth, class-action suits simply don’t exist here in Germany :(